Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

Drag and drop design

A lot of stuff in the GSB campaign UI is drag-and-drop based. For example, if you want to merge one fleet with another, you pick up a fleet icon and drop it on the other one. If you want to move a fleet you pick it up and drop it on the destination.

The trouble is there are some situations where that fleet has moved (and thus can’t move again) but you still want the ability to drop it on another fleet in the same location. That means I allow you to pick up an icon, but only drop it on a next-door icon, which is confusing. I change the icon color to show that it can’t now ‘move’ only be merged, and explain ti with tutorial windows, but it’s not really good enough.

I think I’m going to go for a two-pronged solution. Firstly I’ll restrict the distance you can move a dragged icon if it can’t leave the system, and secondly I’ll change the icon more drastically to have a big red stripe through it to show it can’t be moved right now. That’s still not a perfect solution, but it’s a stepĀ  in the right direction, which is always a good step :D

I tried out a competing space campaign style game today, which I didn’t get into at all, but that was entirely due to what seemed a clunky interface. I don’t want people to have the same view of the GSB campaign, so it needs a lot of work. Everything has to be super-intuitive. Lots of work to do.

In other news, we wanted quotes from 3 builders. We arranged 4 to come visit. Only 2 showed up, and 1’s quote was some sort of joke. I’ve now arranged a 5th builder. What the hell is wrong with these people?

5 thoughts on Drag and drop design

  1. How about dimming everywhere outside the area that it can’t be dragged to? So you end up with a ‘highlight’ of where you can drag it to, and if you drag it outside that area the No Move red stripe can be overlayed on it.

  2. If the move is time restricted or delayed why not use a time icon. clock face, lcd countdown, hour glass?

    Even a simple circle, where the dragged icon will stop at the edge but a ghost icon with a time symbol shows that it cannot currently make the move!

  3. I’m with AlexV on this one, that’s a good idea. Don’t use the stripe, I’ll feel I’m not even able to merge the fleets if that’s showing up all the time. AlexV’s idea instantly tells you not just the status of drag at the point of your cursor (as does stripey stripe), but everywhere on the screen.

  4. I’m alerady doing the dimming thing for all the other worlds when you grab the fleet, but it possibly needs to be more drastic.
    I think I’ll keep the red stripe because it lets you see at a glance what fleets still are able to move that turn.

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